Catalog Archive
Auction 135, Lot 23

"Basis Geographiae Recentioris Astronomica", Doppelmayr/Homann

Subject: World

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Atlas Coelestis

Color: Hand Color

22.8 x 19.1 inches
57.9 x 48.5 cm

Dopplemayr's scarce world map is a unique combination of scientific and decorative cartography. The map is based on co-ordinates established for 138 places, which are shown in the tables above and below the double hemisphere map. The list of astronomers named in these tables is impressive and their observations more than tripled the number of observations used to compile the important Cassini/Nolin map of 1696. The continents are shown in outline form without political detail. In North America California is an island, and there is a hint of a possible Northwest Passage from Hudson Bay to the Strait of Anian. In the Eastern Hemisphere, Japan is shown twice (once to illustrate Sanson's error that placed it too far east). The richly engraved decorative elements are much more than mere embellishments. The scenes include cherubs using a variety of contemporary instruments at an observatory. On the left, a cherub is sighting a long refracting telescope on the lunar eclipse in the opposite upper corner. In the center, a solar projector is used to measure the eclipse of the sun in the spandrel directly above. On the right, longitude is being determined by observing the transit of the moons of Jupiter in the upper left corner. Shirley refers to this map as being 'neglected' and considers it "in advance of its time." It certainly is one of the most interesting world maps of the 18th century.

This appears to be an unrecorded, and possibly earlier, state that is not mentioned by Shirley. Only the continental outlines are shown. Only Sumatra and Java appear in Southeast Asia with the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia conspicuously missing. There is no coastline of New Zealand in the South Pacific. While the second image of Japan appears, there is no explanation attributing it to Sanson. The Caspian Sea, Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen are also not depicted.

References: Shirley (TMC-46) pp. 34-38.

Condition: A

Sharp impression and original color. The centerfold has been professionally reinforced on verso with light Japanese tissue and a couple minor edge tears have been repaired.

Estimate: $900 - $1,200

Sold for: $650

Closed on 2/16/2011